How do you pick out a doctor?

So I haven’t been at the top of my game lately, due in large part to the loss of my godfather, and fallout from that. I am not sleeping regularly, or eating, can’t concentrate, am basically not well. I need to see my doctor, and probably get back on meds.

I was told the earliest I could see him would be the END OF MAY. Yea, right. In the two (almost three) years I’ve had this guy on as my primary, I’ve seen him twice, because he’s impossible to get an appointment with. He’s a great doc, but I need to be able to have someone with a little more flexibility.

I have the list from my insurance company, but I don’t just want to blindly call looking for an appointment. Every doctor that I DID get a recommendation from by my father (who is a mental health councilor for the VA) has a waiting list of about May, or isn’t accepting new patients. Any advise?

I’ve never seen the same doctor twice in my life so I can’t comment on finding one (though I don’t really see why people would want a regular doctor, but that is just me).

Does your insurance, HMO, hospital, whatever, have an urgency care clinic?

With Kaiser (and I have not idea how common this is) making an appointment will take you many months. But they have daily urgency care hours that are open to same-day appointments only.

My plan (Atena) has a web site where you can put in your zip code and serch for Doctors in your area. The list even tells you if they are accepting new patients. Sometimes it even gives you thing like where and when they graduated med school. Other than that it is a crap shoot.

Good Luck and I hope you feel better.

Well if you are on an HMO it limits your search. I normally will either call my HMO’s help line or read their book. I look for the closest or most convenient doctors office listed. You give a call and ask if they are accepting new patients. If they are explain that you need an immediate appointment. They will take down some basic info about you.

If you go to the docot and you don’t like them, you can usually change doctors until you find one you like.

How about asking friends, coworkers, and such who they go to? Zebra is right, it’s a crap shoot, but perhaps you’ll get some insights.

Are you talking about a shrink…? If so, this is what I did. I compiled a list of questions that I wanted answered, as to methodology & beliefs about releveant stuff. Then I called around. I found that most shrinks were willing to answer basic questions on the phone. (I’m bipolar, and take an everchanging number & dosage of meds to keep stable. So it’s important to me to have a good shrink.)

Perhaps if you have specific questions for a potential family doc, (s)he or the nurse/receptionist would be able to answer them. Someone who takes a few minutes to talk to you on the phone may be an extra-caring & conscientious doc.

Note: Many docs who list themselves in insurance lists as not taking patients over 40 (quite a few do IIRC) do so because they would rather take the insurance money they get whether or not they see a patient, and therefore don’t want to deal with elderly patients who are likely to visit more often. YMMV.

We don’t have the insurance part to worry about up here, but when I was looking for doctors for my son, the biggest thing was they had to listen to what I had to say and they had to answer my questions in a language I understood. We saw this one guy who was supposed to be the top of his field. He spoke way above our heads and one day got pissed off at us and drew it on a white board. It was perfect because we finally understood what he was talking about.

We only saw him a couple more times tho because he was also a researcher and our son ended up being one of his guineau pigs until we figured it out. The next time they called for me to bring our son in, I said we wouldnt be bringing him anymore. Two days later I got a letter in the mail that said, “mother declined further assistance”.

On the other hand, I take him to an awesome pediatrician. He has a special needs daughter so he understands my need to understand what is going on and he is brilliant and caring. The last time we were there, which has been alot lately because of some problems boyo has had, the doc, at the end of our visit asked if there was anything he could do for mom. I thought that was really sweet of him and told him that. He said I looked tired and that a child being sick can be a nightmare for parents and kids need their parents when they are sick.

For myself, I have seen the same awesome doc for about 20 years now. I fluked out finding him and unless he moves or retires I’ll stay with him for sure.

Look for doctors with the most unpronounceable names you can find. Seriously. Many excellent doctors who came from other countries have low patient loads just because a lot of patients don’t want a “foreign” doctor.